Updates!

We have a new friend, we will call her Bow. Bow is a 12 year old female, she’s funny, smart, and extremely helpful. Bow loves words of affirmation and quality time. One of Bows best qualities is her communication; she is precise and very open. I definitely appreciate that, it makes parenting her very easy and she has proven to be very trustworthy as well. Welcome to the family, Bow! Bow’s case is very complex…I’ve never had a case like hers before, it’s both intriguing and saddening. I believe Bow to be a long term placement as things aren’t progressing with her case as they typically do. I’m excited to see who this girl is and what she’s capable of. Her goals are to establish friendships and to keep moving forward. (How amazing is that? This kid is resilient.)

Blink is doing well, I’m unsure if she is on the spectrum or not as I previously disclosed. I feel she may be a product of her environment because we have seen some amazing changes within her. Blink has shown tremendous growth and development over the last few months, she is understanding social cues and how to behave appropriately. Blinks case is teetering towards severance and she is navigating the system to the best of her ability. Blink is not an adoptive option for our family, Blink understands that and agrees. She has several siblings which makes it a bit difficult in trying to figure out her end game. Her goals as of right now are to finish the school year hear and play on the schools softball team this fall. It’s hard for me personally, when it comes to Blink. She’s a good kid with a heart of gold and seeing her flounder in the system is heartbreaking. Being 14 years old and having to endure this just sucks

Smile, oh our sweet Smile. This kid had a LONG honeymoon period. Typically during the honeymoon period it’s about 4 weeks at the maximum, Smile pushed it out for several months. Smile is currently falling apart, she’s had to move schools due to unsavory relationships and she’s had to modify her work schedule due to more peer conflict. She is a very complex teen and I cannot figure her out. I’ve seen self sabotaging behaviors before but this takes the cake. Smile does well with us, her parental units, aside from the chronic lying. She does well with younger people too, it’s her peers that get her in a tizzy. Smile can forget everything that she knows is safe and throw it out the window when she’s with people her age. She has lied so much within the community that she’s got herself an awful reputation, from drugs to extreme sexual behaviors. Sadly, very little of what’s been said about her is true. I’m not naive, I know she’s not a saint and I know she’s done some dispicable things. I also know that some of the things being said about her are so far fetched that it couldn’t be true. Husband and I are worried about her tremendously because she’s very immature and willing to do anything for attention, good or bad. Husband has a terrified that she’ll fall victim to sex trafficking and I’m worried that she could be engaged in consensual and dangerously careless sex. Smiles goals are to be able to communicate better, amen to that. Smile is 14 years old.

Boychild, holy moly. I’ve been cautiously quiet about him because he’s started off good then quickly plummeted in the past. This summer we had him read a ton of positive self help books to prepare him for the transition to middle school. I’m excited to announce that it’s been 3 weeks since school has started and I’ve not gotten one phone call, email, nor text about his behavior or lack of working in class! He has also decided that he’d like to participate in track this year. Boychild has been attending Civil Air Patrol meetings and really enjoys it. A lot of Boychild success is due to Blue, she has been spending a lot of time with him and encouraging him. Biscuit has also dragged him along on outings with her friends to help socialize him, it’s done him well. Yay for older sisters!

Bunny has shocked me with her skills at the gym, she has really stepped up her game and has been less emotional. Bunny is the crier, she cries for control and can minuplate situations with her emotions. Her coaches have witnessed it for years and shooed her off on a regular basis. This year she was told if she wanted to compete on the level 3 team she’d have to cut the crying out. Apparently she really wanted to work in her skills and be on that team because she has had just a couple of outbursts. That is amazing, she’s actually grown emotionally because of cheer. Bunny is doing well in school and is interested in playing volleyball.

Lemon is Lemon. She’s an avid reader and she cheers. She’s doing better on telling the truth despite the naughty things she’s done. Lemon put a sticky note on her brothers door that was inappropriate, when I asked her about it she told me it was her and why she did it. That’s a step in the right direction!

Blue is doing well, she’s found a new group of friends at school and continues to keep her GPA high. She’s currently #21 in the school with her weighted GPA. Blue is also participating in Civil Air Patrol and she’s involved in many clubs.

Biscuit can drive. Wild. She’s a junior in high school and she’s just made the date to get her permit. Biscuit is doing well in school and is very social, although I do wish she’d be more independent and not need an entourage to do things she’s hesitant about. She is coaching a cheer team and she really enjoys it, she has a sibling on that team and I’ve been told that coach Biscuit is different than sister Biscuit. Also, she signed up to participate in the Powder Puff football ordeal.

My older girls seem to be doing well, one is starting her second year at U of A and the other is living/working in Colorado. I’m proud of both of them, they’re turning into amazing women.

I’m stellar! I’ve did the weight loss thing via intermittent fasting, made my goal weight, and I’ve been going to the gym the last several weeks. I loathe the gym, exercise is NOT for me. I continue to go because I’m old now and health = longevity. I have all these damn kids and I bet I’ll have a herd of grandkids someday, I’d better be around to enjoy them.

Husband is doing well, he hasn’t got much time to do fun things lately. I appreciate him and all of his hard work, he’s pretty rad. We did take the time to go see a concert together, see pic below.

I’m starting to prepare for Christmas! I love Christmas, especially with my foster placements. I enjoy treating them to things and giving them our family experience. Obviously, I love it for my bio and adopted kids too. I’m a giver.

Inner turmoil

There’s always something. It seems like everything fell apart all at once. I’ve got 2 of my girls (Blue and Smiley <—- is that what I named my 13 year old placement? I can’t remember) in a Tuesday night intervention group at home that the girls lovingly call Talking Tuesdays. We pretty much have a personalized self help/enrichment meeting in our bedroom, it’s really been eye-opening and helpful when addressing behaviors. It forces the girls to be held accountable for said behaviors. It’s a self exploratory that’s guided by us, the parents!

My difficult placement continues to spiral out of control; there was a school threat and things have escalated quite dramatically. The child is becoming more and more volatile; school, home, and after care have all noted the concern, it is unsettling. Imagine being stuck in a current fight or flight status, how awful this poor boy must feel. My heart aches for him… I’m pushing harder than ever to have him placed in a therapuetic environment, he needs help. This boy is exhausting himself emotionally, I simply cannot imagine his inner turmoil. I, too, am emotionally drained and I’m done repairing things this child has destroyed. From holes in the walls, writing on walls, breaking dresser drawers, ripping a ceiling fan from ceiling, drawing with a permanent marker all over his bedding and bed frame, constant supervision is 100% necessary and my lack of supervision is to blame. This child is not a typical 8 year old boy, oh no. This sweet child has endured years of trauma, trauma overlooked by everyone that he trusted in his life. Again, my heart aches. I simply cannot imagine being in his shoes, why do parents neglect their children? How could anyone purposefully treat a child in a way that could damage them? This is the shitty side of foster care. Defeat.

I’m not a perfect mom. I’ve screwed up quite a bit during my years as a parent, I still screw up. No on really knows what they’re doing when it comes to parenting but if you truly care and are doing your absolute best; hats off to you! Educate yourself, ask for help, read books, YouTube, anything and everything could be used as a parenting tool. My favorite educational tool in regards to raising children is parents I admire, they’re always keen on giving their parenting tools to anyone who’s interested. Seeing as I’m struggling with half my gaggle of children it’s hard for me to hone in on better parenting techniques. It’s extremely difficult to parent anyone in my home when I’ve got a full time job with my difficult placement, I feel as if I’m unavailable to parent other children because I’ve exhausted myself on every level tending to the troublesome child.

I’m less of a mother.

Talk about a painful realization. I’ve got less time to police Boychild’s homework, grades, and video game time. I’ve got less time to help with Honors English papers, ask about peer relationships, and recent accomplishments with Blue, Smiley, and Biscuit. I’ve been completely unavailable to my older, grown daughters who are living away from home. I’ve got less time bonding with my other placement who I’ve not written about in so long that I cannot remember her alias on my blog. I’ve got less time to read with Lemon and less time to wrestle with Bunny. I noticed last night as I had all of the kids leave the kitchen while preparing dinner, that used to be a time when we came together to cut vegetables and learn about nutrition. I had to ask them to leave as my difficult placement is my shadow and simply cannot operate within groups. My family is suffering without a mother. I am responsible for this. These reasons are precisely why I’m pushing for a therapuetic home for this young boy, I simply cannot give him what he needs and I’m no longer willing to sacrifice my family dynamic.

It’s not up to me where this child goes, the case team will find something on their time and that’s just fine. I simply need a light at the end of my tunnel, a simple ray of hope to keep me going. I’ve been in the dark for such a long time. Just because I’ve asked for a move doesn’t mean it’s going to be granted; however there is the option of my volunteering a disruption via my licensing agency. I’m not quite there… where I throw my hands into the air and quit, I’m pleased that the case team finally heard my words and is considering moving the child. That’s just enough for me right now and I’m choosing to make the best of it.

Adios, Tata!

Tata has left our home, she was moved in with her siblings out of our county. I was happy to see her go as she truly missed her siblings. I received a phone call yesterday informing me that her caseworker had changed AGAIN and that Tata would be picked up at 8am the following morning. Short notice… my favorite. 😯 I sent a bag of dirty laundry with her, I wanted to make sure she had all of her things. She came here with nothing and left with a large box and 2 duffle bags full of items. I’ll sure miss her, she was loud, obnoxious and constantly laughing. I hope one day she is reunited with her family!

Remember this?

I last shared, prior to getting my placements, that my interest was piqued in regards to a 12 year old girl that was seeking a large family and that I had been contacted regarding to placement and adoption. Well, that was complete crap. It it a pretty shady ordeal, they can only disclose very small pieces of the case during the inquiry while letting you get emotionally involved. During a 6-8 week process they can pick you apart as the family who wishes to adopt but you get minimal information… but not medical or behavorial stuff.

I indicated to the the CSR specialist to call my licensing worker and disclose all of the information to him as there is a loophole in the process. Although he isn’t allowed to disclose any information to me, he can get the nitty gritty. I trust him to make the call for me, he knows my family dynamic and what I’m willing to have in my home in regards to placement. The CSR specialist called my licensing worker, disclosed all the things, he knew it wasn’t a good fit and it was closed down. I hope that anyone who is looking into a CSR child can find this information helpful and time saving, not to mention avoiding yet another emotional rollercoaster.

It was a CSR ordeal which pretty much equates to kids that are EXTREMELY hard to place due to behaviors, multiple placements, etc.

I’ve learned enough about photolistings, CSR’s, and adoptive searches in general. The masses are correct; it is a waste of time and pointless. Despite my initial feelings about everyone else failures being a personality flaw or getting emotionally attached to a picture of a child, everyone was right. It is complete garbage. I’m objective, even during my emotional bit during this journey.

I don’t like being this pessimistic but the proof is in the pudding.

TL;DR

Don’t bother looking at photolistings ot CSR’s. It’s a lost cause or a trap.

And scene!

Our standard cheer season is complete! Our gym has 5 teams attending the Summit in Orlando in 19 days, our other teams aren’t eligible. Hello Disney World! Our last competition was in Las Vegas, all of our teams placed first with the exception of our mini team– they placed 3rd. It was an exceptional season and I’m proud of all of our athletes and coaches. All of their hard work made for a successful season, kudos! 

I’m excited to go on this trip with Biscuit, it’s a fun time for her and I to bond and have fun all while making memories. I enjoy the time we get to spend together because I know these times will soon be a thing of the past as she gets older and would rather be with friends than her weird mom. Biscuit has been fundraising for this trip and I’m proud of her for working hard, I’ve noticed it’s not something a lot of kids do anymore. Parents are burdened with huge expenses and kids often feel entitled; I expect my children to work for things in all areas of life.

Just as soon as this season’s ends another begins, it all happens quickly. It’s a blur. A lot of our coaches and athletes will be graduating high school and heading off to college, it’s bittersweet. 

We let it go, take the lead Elsa!

We had been hanging on to Bells and Shy’s personal items for several months. We had bikes, scooters, skateboards, and heaps of clothing that belonged to them. The kids had packed things quite early on and put the boxes in the garage; I thought I had packed all of their boxes in their transport vehicle the day they had left. I had also anticipated a better relationship with their family but something changed…I’m not sure what. It’s common for family members to believe whatever random things the kids tell them, I guess I just assumed it wouldn’t happen to me. Well, it did. I was shafted by the adoptive family and children. 

Yeah, it hurts but it comes with territory. 

I did donate all of their items recently. Their things had taken up quite a bit off room in the garage, I had kept it hoping the family would request their personal belongings and I’d be able to see the kids. The kids left in October, it’s February…If they needed or wanted their items they would have come for them or  asked a caseworker to facilitate a retrieval. I was bummed out because most of Bells nice jeans and Uggs were packed in those boxes and Shy’s Legos were also in there, those were important to the kids. 

I was told that their family could contact me but I shouldn’t reach out to contact them. I have all of their contact information and I’ve been updated on their current case standings…but reaching out is forbidden has it has been since November of last year. 

Just as one chapter finally closes, a new chapter opens. I’m excited about life and my community. I’m learning lessons everyday and feeling good, sometimes rotten things happen but it doesn’t define the future. 💋

Halloween is happening!

We love Halloween around here! Dressing up, going to parties, being with friends…and CANDY! Three out of the 6 kids have decided what they’d like to dress up as but the other kids have no clue. So far we’ve got a witch, a mermaid, and a pirate. 

Blue is doing well in school, she’s starting taking a gymnastics class, she’s smiling more and talking with us. She is a sweet girl–smart too. I’m really proud of her for coming out of her shell and trying to regain a sense of normalcy. Blue is a funny girl, she makes is laugh. Last night she had a loose tooth and she accidently pulled it and it fell into the toilet. Biscuit and Blue laughed so hard and when they tried to retell the story they couldn’t get through it because of the laughing. 

Busy, we’ll he’s busy. He’s not behaving well at school. I keep telling myself that he’s never been in a social environment with kids his age, he’s started kindergarten a year late so he’s older than his peers but he lacks so much when it comes to maturity. I know he will overcome all of his behaviors; he’s a sweet boy who is eager to please. Oddly enough, he is amazingly well behaved at home with us. He is kind, obedient, and funny. Personally, I feel like he is just having a hard time adjusting. Busy attended church for the first time last week, he loved it.  It was a week day youth group and he was great there, granted it was just and hour and a half he couldn’t get into too much trouble in the short amount of time. He is excited to attend this week, I’m excited too. 

Boychild is still doing well in school, he’s been riding his dirtbike, and just being a good kid. I’m psyched that he’s still doing well and he’s being self motivated. After all of the constant struggles with him this feels good. I’m happy that he’s overcoming his personal obstacles, I’m proud too! 

Biscuit is hormonal. Sometimes she’s just not very nice; other times she’s mega clingy and infantile. She’s almost a teenager (in 4 months!) and she’s doing well in her clubs, sports, and extracurricular activities. She is the absolute funniest kid EVER and I love it. Biscuit keeps me smiling even if it’s at her own expense. 

Bunny, holy growth spurt! This kid is tall. Bunny is very athletic and still struggles with gender roles; she currently secretly loves Skylanders and only her bestie knows this. She has been really into shooting and target practice, this kid has impeccable aim. She’s asked me for a bike and a new airsoft gun for her birthday and of course I’m going to make her little dreams come true. She’s also planned another epic birthday party…she’s having a runway party and froyo. Last year she had a pancake and pj’s party at iHop, she’s a cool chick. She has great grades, she’s a stellar athlete, and she’s often bratty. Yup. She’s still a weenie, I truly think it’s her personality. My pretty little jerk. 

Lemon is a spitfire. She’s rocking the sight words, she’s trying pretty hard to be a good cheerleader, and she’s doing well in school.  Lemon is too ballsy for her own good, she’s like a constant drunk frat boy… “Mom! Watch this!” Constant. Mayhem. And the injuries are nonstop and the worry never ceases. 


 

Blue and Busy

Great news! Blue (our newest 12 year old girl) is no longer on a hunger strike. She sat down with us for dinner last night and even talked a little. She’s stayed in her room since she’s arrived and only come out a couple of times, it was nice to see her out last night. Blue is soft spoken, she rarely makes eye contact, and her behavior reminds me of a puppy who’s been mistreated. She prefers her hair to cover her face and looks down a majority of the time, it’s a shame because Blue is gorgeous! She has skin like porcelain, and these pretty little pink lips, and her eyes are bluer that the iceberg that sank the Titanic. When Blue does speak she is very clear, concise, and articulate, this leads me to believe that she’s a very bright girl. I can’t wait to get to know her. 

Busy  (our newest 6 year old boy) is doing well. He is excited to please adults, he loves praise, and he listens very well. When we had first picked him up he was doing all sorts of self soothing things such as clicking his tongue, blowing raspberries, fidgeting, etc. We are working on some quieter ways to self sooth and communicate better. He also has some manner issues but he is doing exceptionally well learning to be polite, he is, truly, a shining star. He is just as handsome as ever too, he looks very much like his sister. 

Murphy is doing better with her kennel training, she made it last night with the door closed all night! She woke up twice to go potty and went right back into the kennel without assistance. Yessss! That means I actually got some decent sleep last night. Potty training is going excellent too, she stays pretty close to me so we’ve had no indoor accidents. She’s also my little car buddy, she goes when I pick up/drop off kids…she’s in the car often. She’s a good dog, I like her. 

Boychild is off on a trip with his buddy and his family, they’ll be gone the rest of the week doing fun things all over Arizona! I can’t wait to hear all about it. He is still participating in Cub Scouts and I canmot praise his school success enough, he rocks.

Bunny was supposed to go on a trip with her BFF for the rest of the week but things came up and they’ve decided to go on their trip in 2 weeks. Bunny is still excited, she loves being with her partner in crime…so much so that she’s decided to do gymnastics next season in addition to cheer in hopes of being with BFF. Shes rocking on her cheer teams and doing wonderfully in school. 

Biscuit is being Biscuit, she’s doing well in school and cheering. She’s enjoying Interact Club and she didn’t make the time requirements for Renaissance Club. 

Lemon is starting to read! She knows all but 7 of the pre primer Dolch sight words. She is working on her writing too, she’s a pretty  bright little human. 

Husband and I are doing well, we enjoy our adult Wednesday nights while the kids are in church. We had a great little get away a couple of weeks ago too, I want to do that again! 

We’ve been though this before, how to interact with our new family members v2.0

Anyone who knows me knows that I love fiercely. I will love and protect every child who enters my life; my bio children, my children’s peers, my foster placements, and even strangers children. I am a mama bear and I will destroy you if needed be, I am a children’s advocate. I have devoted my life to children, both my own and others because I am passionate about them. Everytime we get a new placement I feel the need to refresh memories, with this being said… let’s go over some do’s and don’t, shall we?
Do offer help. Help is not always needed but it helps us feel secure, the foster parent and child can both benefit from this. Make sure your offer is sincere; I might need a favor sometime or maybe our foster placement will ask you for something. 

Don’t sympathize, empathize. Empathy is the ability to understand and share feelings of another (having shared the same experience,  or very similar experience) it goes far beyond sympathy, which is pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. Don’t tell my foster babies you understand what they’re going through, you simply cannot unless you’ve been a foster child. 

Do recognize that my foster kids are not “damaged goods.” They come to me as humans, some are experiencing trauma and some are not. These kids often have amazing personalities, they laugh and play, they’re smart, witty, and have some skills that my family sometimes doesn’t. Remember, these kids aren’t placed in care because they’re bad…they’re placed in care because their parents made mistakes.

Don’t tell me I’m a saint for being a foster parent. I. Am. Not. Saving. Anyone. I’m just providing a safe, and loving, home for a child who is living with me. I certainly don’t praise you for going to your child’s sporting event, I don’t tell you how wonderful you are for going  to a parent/teacher conference, I don’t high five you for successfully pulling off a Tooth Fairy/Elf on a Shelf/Santa thing. Don’t tell me you could never do it, don’t say it must be heartbreaking, just stop. I’m just a parent…just like you. 

Do teach your children to be welcoming, inclusive, non-judgmental, and kind. I’m especially lucky to be a part of a large group of kids and their families who know what I do, they know I’m a foster parent, and they have taught their children to be accepting and helpful. This is magical, if you haven’t talked to your children about foster care…do it now. The large group of kids typically know that I’ve a new placement; they see a new child or children with me. The kids are quick to introduce themselves, to let the child know how they know me/my child/husband, tell them something positive, and run off to do their thing. If kids can do this, anyone can. The kids NEVER ask if they are a foster kid, they NEVER ask what they did to be placed in our home, they NEVER make our placement feel as if they’re different than anyone else. Adults can learn from this.

Don’t be a moron. This should be self explanatory, but I’m going to ramble off some points. 

  • I am not making money being a foster parent, don’t ask. 
  • Will you adopt them? Seriously, ask yourself if you’ll get in a car accident today. Do you know the answer, probably not. 
  • Watch what you say about their parents, kids hear everything.
  • Am I their real parent? Go suck an egg. 
  • Don’t you dare say anything about race, I’ll likely assult you. 
  • Go ahead, ask me how many children I fostered. Do you want me to go sad? Don’t make me take that dark trip down memory lane. 
  • Treat these kids like you treat my bio kids.
  • Try to start conversations and don’t ask a lot of questions, that’s a tough one. Try a compliment!  If the kids don’t respond please be understanding. 
  • Be yourself. Be yourself. Be yourself. Stop being overly friendly, over the top happy, etc, just be you. 
  • Offer help in unconventional ways.
  • Celebrate small victories with us. 
  • If our foster kids aren’t acting in a way that is appropriate, relax. I can handle them. Don’t feel sorry for them or me; they’ve experienced trauma and they’re coping the best that they can. 

    I know it’s hard to understand, I know some of this sounds bogus. It’s most important to be understanding. 

    I played the yes card today!

    If I’ve learned anything from fostering children I’ve learned that even if we do say yes to a child or children it doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re actually coming to our home. Apparently, there is a lot of DCYS underground stuff that happens, I still have no clue how they decide which home will be best for the child at hand. I used to think that they called down a list of homes with open beds and waited for the ‘yes.’ I don’t think that’s how it works…if it is I’d be amazed. Sometimes I think they call everyone on the list and when they get a certain number of people to say yes DCYS plucks a random person from the yes list and the others remain backup just in case it’s not what they thought it would be. 

    Well, in the middle of writing this post DCYS called.

    Looks like we will have 2 new family members! We will pick them up tonight, it’s a very strange case but I feel like it will be a good fit. I know that they’re siblings, the girl is Biscuits age (12) and the boy is 6, I know that they’re pretty solid kids per the DCYS worker, and I know that my family is going to be eager to meet them! 

    In other news, Murphy’s first night home was terrible. After about 4 hours in her crate she whimpered and howled loudly for the remainder of the night. She seems to prefer it outdoors and has spend all day outside playing with kids and laying on the pool decking. Murphy seems to be pretty bright; she’s not had any accidents inside the house or her crate. She loves praise a has the cutest little puppy face ever. We all adore her but I think Boychild really, really, has connected with her.